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Bulletin: Canadians are Getting Fatter!

We are all aware of the obesity epidemic and, according to scientists and medical researchers, it will take decades to see any signs of reversing.

In 2008, nearly 1.5 billion adults were overweight, including 500 million who were obese. There has been no sign of slowing down either.

These are dangerous numbers, my friends.

But I want to share with you something that has really peaked my interest – a statistic that I find quite jaw-dropping to say the least.

The numbers that really stand out to me come straight from Statistics Canada. I live in Canada so I care about my people.

In 2009, a survey showed that a whopping 24.1 percent of adults in Canada are obese.

Canadian women, particularly those in the 20-39 age bracket, are becoming overweight faster than almost any other women in the high-income world.

Look around you. One out of every FOUR Canadians is obese. We are getting fatter and there are no signs of slowing down.

This is HUGE (no pun intended).

Nothing unusual happening here...

The world has been putting on roughly 2.5-3 pounds of weight a decade for EACH person on the planet and Canada has definitely been helping as it has some of the highest average body mass indexes among the wealthy nations (thankfully still less than the US).

The average BMI for Canadian women rose from 24.1 in 1980, to 26.7 in 2008. For Canadian men, the average BMI rose from 25.2 in 1980 to 27.5 in 2008.

Remember that BMI (body mass index) is a ratio of weight to height. Check out this BMI calculator to see where you stand. A BMI of 25 and over puts you in the overweight category while a BMI of 30 and up puts you in the obese category.

Dr. Arya Sharma, scientific director of the Canadian Obesity Network and a professor of medicine at the University of Alberta said “When you have a BMI of 26 as an average, that means that there’s a lot of people out there who actually have severe clinical obesity, and need treatment.

Canada is eating its way into a public health crisis.

When you consider the medical costs of obesity, of treating related cases of diabetes, heart disease, hip and knee replacements, it’s clear that we have a serious problem.”

Gastric bypass anyone?

What’s the big deal with obesity anyways?

In addition to the diabetes risk, excess weight heightens the risk for heart attack, stroke and cancers and contributes to nearly three million deaths every year worldwide, the researchers wrote in The Lancet.

High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for death from cardiovascular disease and causes more than 7 million deaths every year worldwide.

Obesity is literally starting to reverse life-expectancy gains in high-income nations.

Our longevity is at risk.

So what can be done?

Without a doubt, reversing obesity is going to be a long and painful journey. But we need to start somewhere, and we need to start right away.

The game of weight loss is simple but it’s not easy. It’s about making simple lifestyle changes and having the patience to see them through. Simple lifestyle changes lead to massive lifestyle improvements.

I can give you all the advice in the world but if your mind and heart are not set on making a change, then nothing can help. Find your source of motivation. Whether it’s being there for your grandchildren or impressing the new HR girl at work, you need something that will drive you to push through those difficult times.

It’s time to make a change.

The world is getting heavier. My fellow Canadians are in rough shape.

We all need to step up and work together to reverse this epidemic.

How are you going to make a difference?

Sam- Look Like An Athlete - March 10, 2011

It’s a sad state affairs to see obesity rates skyrocket. Here in the U.S. it is quite common and is an epidemic. Unfortunately in Western countries it is becoming the norm. We should make it a goal to greatly reduce this epidemic and get more people on to a healthy track. Hopefully, your blog will reach a huge audience and will inspire many to reach their potential.

-Sam

    Test - March 11, 2011

    @Sam
    People in the western part of the world want convenience. The need it. And greedy corporations from the food industry are glad to give it to them. But convenience results in unhealthy eating and overall poor lifestyles. We do this to ourselves.

    Individually we need to CHOOSE TO CHANGE. Only then will we be able to make a real difference.

    I hope one day I’ll be able to play a small role in helping reverse this scary epidemic.

Alykhan - Fitness Breakout - March 11, 2011

Srdjan,

I think obesity in the US is still worse than any other country, but other nations, including Canada appear to be catching up. You mentioned researchers say it will take decades to see signs of this reversing. Does that mean they think the trend will eventually reverse? Or maybe at least plateau? If so, that is a glimmer of hope because the situation looks pretty bleak right now.

Alykhan

    Test - March 11, 2011

    @Alykhan
    Canada is most definitely catching up and it’s really sad to see. It’s the Western lifestyle.

    From what I’ve been able to gather, researchers are saying that it will take decades with the efforts we are CURRENTLY putting in. But more needs to be done. The situation is definitely looking bleak, I agree.

    Is it THAT noticeable down in the US?

Alykhan - Fitness Breakout - March 11, 2011

Srdjan,

Yes, very noticeable. In fact, I don’t see the trend reversing anytime soon. The obesity rate continues to rise and unless Western society undergoes some major lifestyle changes, I actually think it will continue to get worse.

Alykhan

    Test - March 12, 2011

    @Alykhan
    Next time I’m visiting the states I’ll have to pay better attention. I went to New York for a few days last year and remember seeing pizzas @ 1000 calories/PER SLICE. That was quite eye opening. And you’re right – lifestyle changes are definitely needed!

Dave - Not Your Average Fitness Tips - March 13, 2011

I hate seeing that the obesity rate continues to rise. The problem is that too few people are willing to do something about it. I think everyone just assumes some little magic pill will solve all their problems when they’re facing the inevitable health problems that result from obesity.

    Test - March 14, 2011

    @Dave
    It comes down to convenience. People tend to look for the easy solution. They’re looking for results without putting in the work. It simply doesn’t work that way. Until people can understand that concept there’s no reversing this monster.

Raymond-ZenMyFitness - March 14, 2011

Good ending point what are we going to do to make a difference … I’m trying to influence all my friends on Facebook regarding healthy eating by putting up constantly homemade recipes I make …some like it others don’t but if I get one person to change then its worth it ….also In Australia we are going the same way if not surpassing the Canadians and US in obesity.
Raymond

    Test - March 14, 2011

    @Raymond
    I think we all have to play a part to help people make positive lifestyle changes. It’s nice to hear stuff like that…posting healthy, home-made recipes is awesome! And your logic is perfect – even if it helps one person then it really is worth it. We all have to step up!

Michael @ The Underwear Body - March 20, 2011

Really important message, and the stats are scary. You are totally right that convenience is the big driver here. But people seem to care more about saving time than about themselves and their quality of life. In the end it will be those choices that likely cut that time short anyway.

I think it comes down to the individual rather than government intervention, since people don’t seem to scare easily. Maybe if people really get just how much better life can be by being in shape, we just might start getting somewhere.

Cheers

Michael

    Test - March 20, 2011

    @Michael
    I think what it comes down to is that people take their health for granted. It’s not really a priority until it’s not there anymore (or in danger). It’s like anything else in life…you don’t understand how important it is until it’s gone. This is a dangerous game to play with your health because without it nothing else matters.

    I agree that it comes down to the individual. But, at the same time, the government should be doing their part.

    Life is a beautiful thing so why not take care of your health??

Michael @ The Underwear Body - March 20, 2011

Agree totally, great health is one of the foundations of living life to the full!

I think you’re right about people taking it for granted, though that just makes me think of another question. Why is it that some people are motivated to take care of themselves before they “have to”? In my case I grew up admiring athletes and hoping to grow up to be someone I could be proud of. I also had pretty bad asthma….I wonder if that was a trigger.

Can you put your finger on what it was that made you take getting in great shape seriously?

Michael

    Test - March 20, 2011

    @Michael
    My case is kind of like yours, Michael. I’ve always been involved with athletics and that has always kept me in good shape. There wasn’t a day I could go without doing something active and I’m still like that to this day. At the same time, I have family members with poor health and I’m trying to do everything in my power to avoid the same trend. Maybe that was my trigger. I simply love the feeling of being healthy.

Mark's Fat Burning Food and Fitness Blog - April 20, 2011

Not only the Canadians !;-)
The English, even the healthy Icelanders!
It’s good to bring this to the forefront, especially whilst providing real world solutions.

Right on bro !;-)

Mark

    Test - April 20, 2011

    @Mark
    Thanks for the comment, Mark. I think many of the major countries are facing the same (bad) trends in relation to obesity. Coincidentally, I’m traveling to England next week so I’ll get to see for myself 🙂

kate - September 13, 2011

Yeah, if America that’s under recession has still lots of obese people, how much more Canada?

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